September 17, 2020

Some say that ‘content is king’. This view is supported by research that suggests that 96% of marketing decision-makers believe content marketing is an effective component of their marketing strategy and that some 70% of marketers are investing in content marketing. Research has also found that the average US brand spends 41% of its overall marketing budget on content marketing. One study even found that 90% of consumers expect brands to publish content. Despite all of this, other studies have found that only:

  • 42% of B2B marketers consider their content effective.
  • 43% of B2C marketers consider their content effective.

This suggests, to me at least that the majority of content is not considered effective. Part of the reason for this might be the 25% of marketers using content marketing but lacking a content marketing strategy. They establish why content marketing fails to achieve its objectives, where it does fail, four ‘experts’ were considered. Following are the critical points made by these experts.

Expert 1

  • The absence of a documented content marketing strategy.
  • A lack of completely factual, authentic, and compelling information.
  • A poor understanding of the role of search engine optimisation.
  • A failure to allocate a budget above a threshold.
  • A failure to actively and strategically promote the content.
  • A lack of patience – not allowing sufficient time for results to flow.

Expert 2

  • The lack of a strategy or plan of attack.
  • A failure to customise content to the audience.
  • The content is not unique or well-differentiated.
  • A failure to make the content SEO friendly.
  • A lack of content promotion.
  • A failure to monitor and analyse what is and is not working.
  • Giving up on content marketing too soon.

Expert 3

  • The content is not relevant to the target audience.
  • The content is less than timely and current.
  • The use of less than optimal channels for the target audience.
  • A failure to consistently publish content.

Expert 4

  • A failure to refine the strategy over time based on data.
  • A failure to devote an adequate budget to content marketing.
  • A failure to adequately promote the content.
  • The content fails to add tangible value.
  • Targeting the wrong or a challenging niche.
  • Forgetting to achieve cut-through in an environment with a dominant competitor.
  • Not allowing enough time for the strategy to take effect.
  • An inadequate SEO strategy.
  • Setting the content marketing expectations too high.
  • No having fun with content – and allowing this to become evident.

It is apparent from these four lists that there are many factors to consider if a business is to maximise the return on its investment in content. Content is not king – unless it is quality content. Quality content can deliver very significant dividends. Low-quality content is a waste of time. I would argue that the most critical issues are:

  • Having a strategy and integrating it into the overall marketing strategy.
  • Knowing whom to target and understanding that very market week.
  • Adopting a unique positioning and offering distinctive content.
  • Adding value in everything that is published.
  • Using the right format – and especially video, wherever possible.
  • Giving the strategy six months to a year to hit its straps.
  • Supporting the beginning of the strategy with promotional dollars.
  • Writing in a language that is relevant to the target market.
  • Monitoring the results and modifying the strategy accordingly.
  • Taking into account all SEO requirements.

Content has a great deal to offer, and while it is appropriate for most businesses to manage their own content, some need assistance with this and most need assistance with the strategy.

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